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April 10, 2003

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SACRAMENTO – In recognition of “the positive … impact of public libraries, librarians, and library workers,” the State Legislature declared the week of April 6–12 to be National Library Week. Assembly Concurrent Resolution 77, authored by Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), passed unanimously out of the Assembly today.

“Libraries have played an essential role in promoting literacy and democracy for many generations,” said Simitian. “I think every child and adult in the State has benefited from the access to information and the learning libraries provide. I thought it was particularly important in tough budget times to recognize the role of our libraries as community institutions,” said Simitian.

More than 19 million people visit California’s public libraries annually. Today’s libraries provide much more than just the standard book check-out service. They are centers for education and information, providing both tools for the future—through computers and the Internet, as well as access to the past—with archives of newspapers and periodicals.

“Recognizing National Library Week is more than ceremonial,” said Karen Lutke, the Director of Libraries for San Mateo County Law Library. “In these times of difficult budget choices, it’s important to remind people just how many services the library provides.”

“Assemblyman Simitian has been a real ally in our struggle to preserve State funding for libraries,” added Lutke.

As chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, Simitian has worked to preserve funding for the Public Library Foundation, which provides matching funds to cities and counties for a range of library services. He has also fought to preserve funding for school and classroom libraries.

Simitian’s advocacy on behalf of libraries is longstanding. He previously represented the Board of Supervisors on the Santa Clara County Library Joint Powers Authority, which oversees the County’s library system.

Diane Jennings, Acting Director of Libraries in Palo Alto, said, “I’m glad that despite all the hustle and bustle, Assemblyman Simitian took the time to remember libraries. When Joe was on the City Council, we could always count on his support. In fact, he led the way on extending week-end hours at the Palo Alto Children’s Library. That’s been a real benefit for working families with children.”